Most Common psychiatric conditions in childhood

31.9% Anxiety

19.6% ADHD & Disruptive Behavior

14.3% Depression & Bipolar

2.7% Eating Disorder

Pediatric Neuroimmune Disorders such as autoimmune encephalopathy and other inflammatory brain diseases will often present with some or all of the above symptoms.

As science advances, our understanding of the immune system and it’s relationship to the brain does as well.


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RECENT RESEARCH

Hello from the Other Side: How Autoantibodies Circumvent the Blood–Brain Barrier in Autoimmune Encephalitis

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Autoimmune encephalitis epidemiology and a comparison to infectious encephalitis.

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Inflammatory dysregulation of monocytes in pediatric patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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What is PANS? The diagnostic criteria for PANS are as follows:

1) Abrupt, dramatic onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder or severely restricted food intake

2) Concurrent presence of additional neuropsychiatric symptoms, with similarly severe and acute onset, from at least two of the following seven categories:

  • Anxiety, Separation anxiety
  • Emotional lability (extreme mood swings) and/or depression
  • Irritability, aggression and/or severely oppositional behaviors
  • Behavioral (developmental) regression (examples, talking baby talk, throwing temper tantrums, etc)
  • Deterioration in school performance
  • Sensory or motor abnormalities
  • Somatic signs and symptoms, including sleep disturbances, bedwetting or increased urinary frequency.

3) Symptoms are not better explained by a known neurologic or medical disorder, such as Sydenham chorea, systemic lupus erythematosus, Tourette disorder, or others.

NOTE: The diagnostic work-up of patients suspected of PANS must be comprehensive enough to rule out these and other relevant disorders. The nature of the co-occurring symptoms will dictate the necessary assessments, which might include MRI scan, lumbar puncture or electroencephalogram (EEG) in some cases. More often, laboratory studies will be warranted and should include tests to determine if there is a current infection or ongoing immunologic dysfunction.

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) is a subset of PANS. Unlike PANS, in which the trigger is not easily identified, diagnosis of PANDAS requires association with a streptococcal infection.

How are PANS & PANDAS treated?

2017 Standards of Care for PANS/PANDAS:

Psychiatric & Behavioral Modifications

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Immumomoduluatory Therapies

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Treatment and Prevention of Infections

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Medical professionals are highly encouraged to sign up with the PANDAS Physicians Network to keep up-to-date with the latest research and information.

I think my child may have PANS or PANDAS. Now what?

If you are a parent who suspects your child may be suffering from PANS/PANDAS or similar neuroimmune disorders, then you should consult your child’s pediatrician. Many physicians are not yet familiar and may not fully understand the link between infections and psychiatric illness, therefore we recommend you download this diagnostic flow chart from the PANDAS Physicians Network (PPN) and bring it with you to your appointment.

You can also direct your child’s medical team to the National Institute of Mental Health, the PANDAS Physicians Network, or the Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (CPAE) Center of Excellence at Steele Research Center for further information regarding diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing research studies.

If you feel your child may be suffering from this disorder, make sure your medical team takes you seriously. Trust your intuition. There is no better guide. For more information and to keep abreast of our research and advocacy efforts, visit our families page and sign up for our newsletter. You can also find a wealth of information on treatment providers and managing the illness online in PANS & PANDAS Support groups on Facebook.

Please note: We are not medical professionals and this is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for questions related to your child’s health.